With one big throw Wednesday, with a couple seconds of serendipity, Kara Patterson can alter the course of her entire season.
Patterson, a 25-year-old graduate of Skyview High School, will compete in the preliminary round of the women’s javelin event at the World Track and Field Championships in South Korea. And she will try to put some polish on a tarnished season.
“I definitely struggled in Europe,” Patterson said about her summer. “It’s been a tough season as far as trusting my technique.”
One year after unleashing the three best throws in U.S. history — including an American record of 218 feet, 8 inches — Patterson goes into the World Championships with a season best of 205-11.
“It’s been frustrating to feel really powerful and really strong and really fast and not be able to put that into competition,” she said before leaving for South Korea.
Patterson enters the meet ranked 12th in the world this season, which is a demarcation point.
The top 12 finishers in the preliminaries advance to the finals, which will begin at 3:10 a.m. PDT on Friday.
Patterson competed in the 2008 Olympics and the 2009 World Championships, but failed to reach the finals in either competition. Last year was an off-year, with neither of the major world competitions taking place.
“I have a better understanding that I have to focus on myself,” she said. “If you get caught up that it’s a big competition, you aren’t going to be relaxed and focus on what got you there.”
Yet while the frustration has festered throughout this season, Patterson has found strength.
“I’ve had a lot of people from home and from the javelin community around the country reach out to me with encouraging words, even though I haven’t been throwing that well,” she said. “Those are the people I’m competing for.”